Remember the post from a week ago about the leucistic nighthawks we admitted? (scroll down for post) Turns out that they were actually Sennett’s nighthawks: a subspecies of the Common Nighthawk uncommonly found in this region. Many thanks to Bob Russell of USFWS for the heads-up in identifying the birds.
In fact, when I took the one specimen we had over to the UMN’s ecology building for their scientific collection, I learned that it’s most likely the only Sennett’s specimen that the UMN has; and their collection is from around the world dating back to the early 1870s!
Here’s Jennifer Menken of the UMN’s Bell Museum with the nighthawk specimen drawer:
The bird will be tagged showing when and where it was found (Springfield, Minn.), its sex, contents of its stomach and all sorts of other fascinating info:
As an organization we’re fortunate to be a part of the “big picture” and to help scientists record species and conduct studies on the specimens we salvage. Although this bird died, the wealth of information it will provide to scientists will live on for generations. NOTE: this Sennett’s died from seizures, the other needed to be euthanized due to severe fractures. We do not ever euthanize an animal purely for specimen purposes.
And, for those of you who have never seen a nighthawk fly, here’s a video of a release from a couple weeks ago by our Avian Nursery Coordinator Jessika Madison-Kennedy.